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December 9, 2010

The article about Cafe Hon

honHere is Jill Rosen's article about Cafe Hon Denise Whiting and the trademarking of "Hon."

I fear a piling on. So let's try this, another experiment in civility.

Please begin your comment with one of these two sentences.

1) Yes, of course I agree that Whiting has the rights to the HON logo shown here and of course she should protect it. And/But  ....

Or

2)  Whiting doesn't have the right to trademark anything having to do with the word HON. 

I think there's zero to be gained in a conversation between two people holding these opposing views. So here's my experiment. Only address the comments of other people who at least share your main point of view.

Posted by Richard Gorelick at 7:55 PM | | Comments (114)
        

Comments

(Gorelick-restaurant critic and sandbox referee. I feel MUCH safer making a comment with those rules)
I think she is smart to have done it. There is another restauranteur in Bmore that made a play on words and trademarked it. Denise said she wasn't being ridiculous about it or trying to make a profit. So what. She owns it. Perhaps the people who think it's absurd are just mad because they didn't think of it and do it first. I have found this to be the case for a lot of things lately. ;)

I don't really have an opinion about trademarking a word that nobody outside Baltimore cares about and which is part of a stereotype that is the butt of many jokes both in and outside this city.

I would agree, however, with those who say Cafe Hon's food is forgettable and mediocre at best, which may be a reason for building this absurd brand in the first place. If people won't remember you for your food, you need to lure them in somehow.

I find the Hon shtick to be tiresome and condescending.

No one so far is playing by the rules. Of course I'm not either.

I ate at Cafe Hon recently and the food wasn't bad, but it was definitely overpriced by at least $2-3 per item when compared to what you pay around town for the same thing of similar quality.

As for the trademark, I don't think anyone should be able to trademark a vernacular that belongs to the residents of a city. If it had been more narrow, specific to her business enterprises, I would feel differently. But people in Bmore were using Hon a long time before she came around and she doesn't own it, even if she has profited from it by using it in her businesses. She should be paying the residents of Baltimore for the use of Hon.

That said, I respect the restraint she has used once she got the trademark. It appears so far that she has been reasonable and generous about it. I hope that continues, since she kind of stole it from all of us.

Where's the props for the Baltimore Messenger, who reported this first??

Whiting doesn't have the right to trademark anything having to do with the word HON because Celeste is an idiot. By the way, were you referring to the term "soapbox"?

Whiting doesn't have the right to trademark anything having to do with the word HON.

Is she now going to sue John Waters for having HON-like women in Hairspray?

I also consider her "restraint" laughable as she charges money for a NON-profit organziation to hold a hon-themed fundraiser. Although the amount is not large, it's pretty low to charge non-profits any amount.

I guess if people really care about this, they could boycott the businesses.

Adam :)

some people do boycott her business. She still has the right to do it. No one stopped her. I'm pretty sure you can trademark anything. Did she just do this? Why is it such a big deal now? According to the article, she's been doing this for years.

It was pretty uncool of her to charge a non-profit.

If you boycott, you'll save a few bucks, that's for sure.

1) Yes, of course I agree that Whiting has the rights to the HON™ logo shown here and of course she should protect it. And but!

We live in a stupid world. She just has a bigger canoe.

The Hon™ effluvia is rancid Cheetos™ dust.

It's all so low-rent and hackneyed. Why does anybody care? Hon™estly, I would never set foot in an establishment that markets itself in that way. Not ever. I could never wash the moldy kitsch stench off. It's so insulting and demeaning to the community.

Someone I know once mentioned that a visitor to Hampden (where she lives) treated her with condescension bordering on contempt because she lived there. She wondered why. Duh. Because people like this women reduce the community to a moronic white trash caricature to mock and dishon™or.

Now, the real action on this topic is on Twitter under #HonFines. You don't use Twitter? What are you, a hon™?

Ok, Richard... I'll try to play nice. Whiting doesn't have the right to trademark anything having to do with the word HON. That simple Baltimore endearment is etched in my fondest childhood memories. She is the culprit if it has become condescending, or representative of white trash. I use it, frequently. It is not mine, it is ours. Some folk will do anything to get publicity. It is a cryin' shame, hon, she is sucking the charm out of Charm City.

Quick, Richard, get a trademark for "Sandbox"!

Quick, Richard, get a trademark for "Sandbox"!

For the love of crab cakes let that die. The sandbox crap left with EL, who BTW hated it too.

Something more adult, please.

On the topic at hand: it's legal. End of argument.

It's not about rights, it's about good taste. It was ironic in 1976. By now it's some gooey fetid mold-covered glop in a Tupperware™ container at the bottom of the refrigerator behind some jars of weird Chinese sauces.

I think trademarking that thing is an act of self-destruction. Nothing positive can come from it. Third generation post-ironic hipster cred dies with this act of materialist self-immolation.

Shut it down

I have read and pondered these opinions and am in total agreement with owl meat. Quite frankly i think a "class" action suit is necessary at this time. From where does this person, and the US government for that matter, get the notion that no one, but she, can make money from the word "Hon"? I quite well remember a large sign on the Baltimore/Washington parkway, which read "Welcome to Baltimore, "Hon",! I felt that this slogan, belonged to Baltimore, not a woman who swiped it and used it to make money for the past 20 years or so.I now see the word "Charm" or :Charm City" popping up all over the place again. Does this mean that this slogan will be shanghaied from Baltimore citizens too? Give us a break, in these times when our city struggles to make ends meet, I would think the word "Hon", which is synonymous with "OLD" Baltimore, should be used to make money for the city, so we can pay our debts.Baltimore.. do what you do best....Tax the hell out of her. and ps. I think the bird is no longer fun, hun!

It's idiotic. She has no right--legal or otherwise--to trademark a colloquialism. OK™?

And the "hon" issue notwithstanding, she takes herself and her place way too seriously. We're not curing cancer here, hon™.

As an aside, while I appreciate the attempt to keep this thread civil, I'm not sure I like the ChiCom rules (a la "answers must begin like this...") It's a free country, hon™ (unless, of course, you want to use the word "hon"™).

I appreciate your comment (about my rule-setting). It may have been over-reaching on my part. It's the Aries in me

It's a minstrel show.

Well Hon, I don't plan to patronize her place of business anymore. HON belongs to BAWLMER !! Maybe she needs to use her brain and think of something original ! So if Bawlmer wants to use HON in their marketing..SHE will PROFIT !! Greedy, greedy, greedy and that's somethin a true BAWLMER HON is not !!

Blah blah blah...HON logo shown here...blah blah blah...protect it...even though her logo is a complete rip-off of the UN oval id stickers originally seen on European cars.

Not a original bone in her body, I'd say.

Anyway...I always thought that a trademark could only be held on a "mark" - that is, the logo. The word itself is still usable by the general public. For instance, Nike can't sue anyone for talking about the Greek goddess of victory.

The reason I won't go there has less to do with a word now divorced from any meaning it may have once had in Baltimore (or the whining about having to comply with the same laws & ordinances re: signage that everyone else has to follow) and more to do with the place. The last (also The Last) time we went there, we sat for about ten minutes at a table, no menus, no attention, while one server milled about and Denise stood behind the counter reading a paper. We left, and no one seemed to care.

Before I forget to mention this, we actually turned our invisibility belts OFF before going inside.

Perhaps we could anchor our argument with the proper language. Rights are conveyed upon us by the Constitution. We all have the right to say or write the word "hon".

In our holy document of democracy it states that we shoud found a patent and trademark office:
"to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

From this the Office of Patents and Trademarks was established. It grants all patents and trademarks.

http://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/basics/index.jsp

A search yields results for "HON" and "HONFEST":

HONFEST
Goods and Services IC 041. US 100 101 107. G & S: Conducting entertainment exhibitions in the nature of community cultural festivals. FIRST USE: 19970701. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19970701
Filing Date May 22, 2006
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Published for Opposition January 2, 2007
Registration Number 3220060
Registration Date March 20, 2007
Owner (REGISTRANT) Cafe Hon, Inc. CORPORATION MARYLAND 1002 W. 36th Street Baltimore MARYLAND 21211

HON
Word Mark HON
Goods and Services IC 035. US 100 101 102. G & S: Retail gift shops. FIRST USE: 20010510. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20010510
Standard Characters Claimed
Mark Drawing Code (4) STANDARD CHARACTER MARK
Serial Number 78889029
Filing Date May 22, 2006
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Published for Opposition January 2, 2007
Registration Number 3220059
Registration Date March 20, 2007
Owner (REGISTRANT) Cafe Hon, Inc. CORPORATION MARYLAND 1002 W. 36th Street Baltimore MARYLAND 21211

The use of "HON" as a trademark is specific to :"Retail gift shops".

Given the specific nature (which all trademarks must comply with), I conclude that the article and this discussion is foolishly off the rails.

Trademarks exist to protect commerce. So you can't put on your own Honfest™ nor can you open a Hon™ gift shop. The branded merchandise in said shops should have some protection too.

You can't own a word. Yes, she does have limited trademark protection for her business, but I think it's obvious that the breadth of that control is far beyond what any court would allow if challenged. It is not something she coined; it is deep in the vernacular. Her use of it seems to be an abuse of the privilege granted by the USPTO. Get yourself a lawyer and smack her down, just on the basis of the utter crassness of it.

It's a wobbly case. Consider the bold statement that "HON" was first used in 2001 commercially but not applied for until 2006. Shut it down.

I am not a lawyer, so if my lovely ex-paramour Bourbon Girl is watching, feel free to correct me, counselorette.

"Yes, of course I agree that Whiting has the rights to the HON logo shown here and of course she should protect it. And/But ...."

... don't expect those who have lived in Baltimore for ages to go along with either Whiting's ideas or the whole crass commercialism of the "Hun" balderdash anymore.

This could basically be the killing of the goose laying the golden eggs. That word, the fest associated with it, etc. will end up as "un-Baltimorean" as Harborplace and Artscape--something for out-of-towners and tourists to be suckered into.

Here's a great essay on the whole situation via a Yelp review:
http://www.yelp.com/biz/cafe-hon-baltimore#hrid:sQXpkmiXXGHbq_sVgaLuXw

Also: Laura Lee, you hit it perfectly on the head. 4 words and you summed up the whole problem with "Hon®"

Honestly, I don't understand why she doesn't move her operation to the Inner Harbor, because that's where she belongs - selling an image in a neighborhood that doesn't embody any of the things her brand would seem to infer, it's relegated to a tourist setting and I think everyone would be more than comfortable with it.

Instead, we're in a situation where a woman whom the local community seems to loathe is pouring pure magnesium on an already brightly burning bridge, all in the name of preserving a "brand" that doesn't even necessarily exist or that anyone outside of this area would or should give a crap about, all the while insisting that she's an integral part of the community that hates her so.

It's tragic, as a businessperson Denise seems shrewd, and if she had a more far-reaching "brand" with any national utility she'd probably be a millionaire. But the implications of this decision are nothing short of a PR disaster, especially considering the borderline megalomaniacal comments she's made historically about the importance of her presence in Hampden and the cultural significance of Hon™ - lumped altogether she's the new Robert Irsay in terms of public opinion, it would seem.

But hey, according to the trademark's limitations and inclusions we can still sell HON™ condoms and lamps (right?)!

I started a facebook page on this issue.

http://www.facebook.com/?ref=logo#!/pages/Ill-Use-Hon-However-The-Hell-I-want-Cafe-Hon-Lady/170428169664689

That's fine... I'm going to trademark Bawlmer, Zink, Pockeybook, Blairoad, and Orioes. pppffffttt!! So there!

I find the Hon shtick to be tiresome and condescending. x2

I wish that Zagats Guide used my summation of Cafe Hon for this year's edition:

"It's like something John Waters threw up, but without the charm."

I can't, for the life of me, figure out why they didn't use that.

I guess it's good for Hugh Sission that he changed the name and label of Marz-hon to the boring Marzen.

That is actually a great counter-point.

Here's a born-and-dyed in the wool Baltimoron who has decided to SHED his connections with the town (i.e. the Clipper City name is gone, McHenry Lager and Marz-hon as well) to great success, and the town still enjoys his beers and supports him.

Then we have Flamingo-gate Denise, and from what I understand is not from the town. She is dry-humping all the fun and kitsch of a bygone-but well loved part of this towns history -and pissing off the very people she is trying so hard to be like - all the while not realizing that stereotype is dead, but Baltimore will defend its honor over all else.

Since moving to Baltimore, I've been called sweetie, baby, sweetie baby, darling, honey, baby doll, love and a number of other endearments (all by complete strangers). The one thing I've never been called is "hon."

So I think the entire thing is silly. She has a right to be silly, the rest of us have the right to ignore it.

http://www.baltimoreorless.com/2010/12/trademarking-hon/

"FlamingoGate!" I love it!

I've been insulted by the "HON" thing for many years, while much of the city was still flogging it to death. I think much of the outrage about this trademark issue is more about people finally having a reason to vent their irritation about the whole sorry schtick than anything else.

I don't think Whiting really understands that people don't find it cute anymore, that we find it insulting. If she were such a business genius, she'd have paid more attention to her audience (like reading the Interwebs and noticing people don't like her food, her attitude, and the HON b.s.)

Also, if I were the MTA's ad agency and that woman had final say over all my creative, I would shoot myself. My god.

(And... thanks to Sean for promoting my review!)

Agreed Lissa
I was always taught to ignore inappropriate bahavior. It is usually just a desperate cry for attention from someone who doesn't deserve it.

Hmmm... I don't know who "Dr. Creamcheese," but it ain't me, babe.

Well, the reasonableness and civility thinned out pretty fast.

Lissa - Same here, all in the same transaction by an older woman who worked (and may still) at the 7-11 on 36th Street.

Laura Lee - Thank You

Epic backlash fail!

Um, I think I posted Lissa's name to my comment. Sorry about that!

I agree with RoCK and Herbert.

Owl, how about Boite de Sable? :-)

I officially LOVE clairecartoon. Her Yelp rant is a thing of beauty. More please.

Can I repost it on my blog?

"Well, the reasonableness and civility thinned out pretty fast."

Yes, this crowd leans more towards brutal honesty.

Awww Owl Meat. That's so sweet! Yeah, sure, anyone can post it. I think when you post to Yelp you abrogate all your rights to your IP. Which is ironic, yes?! :)

You've got some teeth, Claire. Are you the the Claire C. I know or another Claire C? Freakin' Smalltimore

Just don't call me late for dinner.

Let's also remember that Ms. Whiting pitched a fit when the city made her pay a minor privilege fee to keep her flamingo up. A fee that all merchants that have signs, etc. projecting from a building are required to pay. I happened to witness her that day moping around and being pissed off. I believe that she actually thought she should be exempt from any fees because she believes herself to be the face of Hampden. Her antics are insulting to all the other many businesses that make up The Avenue, some of which were there fighting to turn Hampden around long before she ever showed up waiving her banner.

I've lost count of the number of times I've heard Denise describe herself as a "marketing genius." Uh, maybe not so much.

I'm glad she did it. Now we won't have to see these crass symbols of a city anywhere else. No more on buses, commercials, billboards and parties. She can keep it. It's time the city shed that image anyway.

Good for you, Ms Whiting. You have created another wart on the toad of tourist Baltimore. The most well-known points of interest in the moronification/Disneyfication of Baltimore are the worst examples. Pity the regional VP of Screentastic in town from Omaha for the patio door convention who visits the great joints of Baltimore: Phillips, Cafe Hon, Sabatinos, Obryztkies, and other hate crimes against food.

Discuss

Owl, I knew my comment would draw you out of your tree.

"Hon" the property of Baltimore? Since my first meal in a diner in the 60s, I've been asked "What'll you have, hon?" in diners in 44 of the lower 48 states.

If she wants to protect her brand, let her.

I agree with the people that say Whiting has the right to the trademark. But, as with many cases, having the right doesn't mean it's the right thing to do.
I think that what she's made clear is that she is not interested in really being a part of the Baltimore community except as it benefits her.

But, you know, that's the American way. I just wish I ever went to her restaurant so that I could actually use my consumer power and boycott it. She doesn't care about Baltimore residents, why should we care about her or her "brand"?

I don't know if I am the Claire you know, B>#, because I don't know your name! But probably.

I do have teeth, though. They're a little worn down from all the grinding.

Different Claire C. Small world.

What many people don't realize is that most of those women down in old Baltimore who put the plate of SOS and mug o' Joe in front of you whilst using the "hon" appelation were also at the same time giving you a good squeeze on the testicles. It's flirtatious and then some. Trademark this, Miss Denise.

B>: Hmm, I I spent a summer babysitting for ANOTHER Claire C--her and her brother M.

I think I was a good babysitter but might have sucked, because I was only 19 and foolish.

She was a great girl, though. If it's the same one, she's now doing radio. Smart as a whip, that one.

"Lightly" touch the server has no equivalent translation in Old Baltimore's gastronomic lexicon--nor nether regions: hard crabs, oyster shells, tongs, cocktail sauce, coddies, shad roe, the Block. It used to be quite a salty place, this burg. We liked the rough-housing.

WAIT! OWL MEAT! I just read your blog and YOU ARE ME!

Friggin' scary. I *have* kids but they never went around in no giant-ass strollers and for god's sake the coffee slurpers--you're right, it's not the coffee, it's the THING that people make of it--I just despise "aficionados" of any kind. Remember the cigar craze? Or... eeeeuuuhh... those wide guys on YPR....

I would read yr blog every day but my head would sympathetically explode more regularly than it already does. Jesus, man, get out of my head.

WAIT! OWL MEAT! I just read your blog and YOU ARE ME!

Friggin' scary. I *have* kids but they never went around in no giant-ass strollers and for god's sake the coffee slurpers--you're right, it's not the coffee, it's the THING that people make of it--I just despise "aficionados" of any kind. Remember the cigar craze? Or... eeeeuuuhh... those wine guys on YPR....

I would read yr blog every day but my head would sympathetically explode more regularly than it already does. Jesus, man, get out of my head.

Well, ClaireCartoon, we should conspire and plan world domination. You may find me on Twitter @owlmeatgravy and on Facebook as Umberto Swarm. All conspiracies considered. I really admire your writing.

Comity fail.
(It was the word of the day)

As I am designing my Owl Meat Gravy HON t-shirt, I realized that people have missed something. It is an incredibly lame logo. I don't know much about design, but I do know that a three word design with three fonts is weak. It's just so artless and representative of nothing. Blech. The one that I get sued for will be much cooler. T-shirts for Christmas or as we celebrate it in the Owl Meat Continuum – Ludachristmas

All she's done is trademark a word. Will I owe her money if I say the word? No. Is she already making money from the word on her merchandise? Yes. If business isn't doing well, do you blame her for trying to make a buck over the name of her business if its all legal? Seems some do.

What the article has really done for her and her business is bring to the surface many reviews of the food she serves and the service - all which is horrible.

I say, Denise, improve on all of that, and this trademark issue will go away fast(er).

The Sun's Celebrity Smackdown is truly a lame stunt, another craven attempt to artificially jack up web hits, and a technological clusterf***.

Dan Rodrick's smackdown of Denise Whiting is masterful, insightful, and right on target. I want to compliment Dan on an excellent piece of writing. Baltimore Sun – fewer stupid photo galleries and gimmicks and more real writing.

I grew up in Baltimore. I now live in Portland OR. I say "Hon" all the time...I cant even help it...its something I picked up living in Baltimore city along with my funny sounding o's.

The word Hon is part of Baltimore and its a shame it has become a trend that people now see as "insulting" or "condescending" For me it has always been a sweet term of endearment.

And that witch and all of her self proclaimed brilliant marketing is to blame.
Denise didnt invent it and her ego is out of control. I hope her business tanks over this.


Several yearsago there was a hugh fire at the Clipper Mill in which firefighters died.
The community got together to hold a fund raiser at a downtown hotel. Denise Whiting stood at the main door passing out flyers advertising her restaurant. I thought then that this is a person beneath contemp. The passing years have only validated my opinion.

Several yearsago there was a hugh fire at the Clipper Mill in which firefighters died.
The community got together to hold a fund raiser at a downtown hotel. Denise Whiting stood at the main door passing out flyers advertising her restaurant. I thought then that this is a person beneath contemp. The passing years have only validated my opinion.

Ms. Whiting should be permitted to obtain trademark protection for the names of her restaurant ("Cafe Hon") and street fair ("Honfest"). However, the extension of her alleged rights to dictating creative control over the design and advertising of public transit fare cards is beyond me. What's next -- will we all have all have to pay for E-Z-Hon-Passes to get through the Harbor Tunnel?

Trademark infringement is the new sudoku. Check out my sort-of food-related trademark infringement. It has ZOMBIES.

Denise Whiting, hon.
Marketing genius? Not quite.
Baltimore reacts.

***

Three little letters
Pink flamingos bow their heads
Feathers made of shame

Dan Rodrick's smackdown of Denise Whiting is masterful, insightful, and right on target. I want to compliment Dan on an excellent piece of writing

I agree, and I normally disagree with everything Rodricks writes.

I agree, and I normally disagree with everything Rodricks writes.

Ditto.

As they say, even a broken clock is right twice a day,

Evan does a pretty good job of summarizing it all. Here's my view:


I am one of the Hampden residents that's been treated rudely by tourists (10 years here) and I supported Denise for many of those years.

Her regular food (not any of the specials) was good enough when you needed something ordinary- I always got it to go to avoid the wait.

My reasoning was that HonFest brought business to the Hampden community, even though it was clear it brought the most business to her. Yes, she did give back. After getting hers.

Then she was the sole Hampden supporter of the Remington Wal-Mart. Again, the ONLY supporter out of all of the Hampden Merchants. What does that say about her place in the neighborhood, regardless of your feelings about the Wal-Mart? I’ve not been back since.

For a long time now Denise has been tolerated, not appreciated. She says "shop local" on her site, but is there "local" merchandise in her store? Or is the majority of it made in China? That's why I refer to her new shop, HONtown, as Hon-Mart.

Hon-Mart.
Exquisite, baltimoregal.

I suspect it is long past time to stop giving her any attention whatsoever.

Who would buy that crap anyway?

I guess it is okay to say nasty things on the internet about people you do not know, because no one gets hurt, right?? Just think people - she is a human being, just like the boy who was "outed" and committed suicide - internet posts don't hurt anyone do they??????

she is a human being, just like the boy who was "outed" and committed suicide -

Oh gravy! Wow, you have giant brass ones. First your sister compares herself to Oprah, who is a crazy megalomaniac. And now you say that criticism of your sister's crass vulgarian materialism is comparable to a gay hate crime that ends in suicide? I am Laughing My A** Off. You manipulative tool. You are despicable to hijack others' grief and pain to sell garbage souvenirs of a past not remembered. (look it up)

Oh, BTW this person is Denise Whiting's sister.

Please, please, please, continue your Shylockian limbo, because I am amazed at how low you can go.

You, hon, are a hate crime.

she is a human being, just like the boy who was "outed" and committed suicide

Well, hopefully this internet snark won't lead to a honicide.

Well, it's official. Whatever modicum of wit I once had has been lost.

Ms. Sites,

Shark = jumped

I think all that Aqua Net has fogged your brain. Your analogy is narcissistic delusion and deeply offensive. Your capitalization on faux lumpen-prole Disneystalgia is in stark contrast to your congealed alienation from your immediate community and the greater humanity at large. The empress has no clothes, hon.

It would probably be best if you head to the storm cellar and wait until this blows over. You're like a public relations kamikaze. You don't need Bob Turk to know which way the wind blows. Remember, the story of Hurricane ended badly.

In case you hadn't noticed, this is going very badly for you.

You all need to step off and stop beating on Denise. She SAVED Hampden. Without her it would be nothing at all. She REINVENTED it, made it a destination, and every other business owner in that area owes her a debt of gratitude and frankly half of their profit if there were JUSTICE. And yeah she's better than Oprah maybe because SHE stayed here and raised up the community. Didn't you ever hear that a rising tide lifts ALL boats? Well she's like a constant moon over Hampden then. HOw about some gratitude to a brilliant businesswoman who is so much better than all of you and a bucket of spit.

This is starting to feel like a proxy war

Wendy - Really? Seriously?? We're comparing your sister to a boy who was just living his life and outed on the internet?

You will gain no sympathy for reaching that bad to defend her.

After thinking about this topic WAY too much yesterday, this morning I woke up and thought, gee, maybe now the tired, overdone HON will go away now. I know the proud folks of Hampden are probably ready for something less of a deragatory joke and more for something fresh and new.

Let's just be done with Hon - the brand, the cheesy festival, and lastly, the boring cafe - it's not like the food is going to win any michelin awards.

I always thought that this cheesy hon thing was a giant cultural embarrassment.

Congrats Miss Whiting, you created zombie low trash culture. Something old, something pee-ew, something borrowed and something that blew.

she is a human being, just like the boy who was "outed" and committed suicide

So we've outed Denise?

Well, Emily, I for one thank Denise for her efforts. I'll think of her as I lift a glass of wine at 13.5%, or enjoy dinner at Golden West, or grab a mojito at Holy Frijoles, or get a bottle to go from The Wine Source. I will not, however, thank her over a plate of mediocre-at-best roasted chicken or whatever else she sells in that kitshy diner.

So Denise';s sister outed her? As what?

Pleas for basic human respect feel ironic in the face of someone whose business is based upon profiting from the objectification and demeaning characterization of somebody's grandmother.

A bonfire of the vanities, hon.

I've copyrighted the letter "e".
You will all receive e-mails instructing you where to send my royalties.

I just want to repost this because...wow.

"You all need to step off and stop beating on Denise. She SAVED Hampden. Without her it would be nothing at all. She REINVENTED it, made it a destination, and every other business owner in that area owes her a debt of gratitude and frankly half of their profit if there were JUSTICE."

Stagger Lee -

I wouldn't want to presume anything but perhaps Emily Swift, the commenter you quoted, has a cousin named Jonathan.

People! We were Nothing! I mean, Nothing, before Denise Whiting came along, just specks of dried manure in the gutter. No one respected us- the neighborhood an empty, dried dirt path with crumpled newspaper tumbleweeds bouncing down 36th Street. We were looked at with vicious contempt, spat upon, never visited, left as lepers. Then, on that day never to be forgotten, we awoke to a warmer, kinder day, feeling somehow more alive and as we slowly rolled over on our aching torso, managing to raise ourselves up, first on our knees and dirty palms, then to an approximation of erect homosapien we saw her, she who had arrived to re-erect us, and bring us forth into the modern age. It was the radiant one. It was Denise Whiting, and we forever are grateful for all she has sacrificed for us and for where she has led us to: "Honicide: Life On 36th Street."

Rodricks is right. I like Cafe Hon and the ventures Ms. Whiting has established. If she walks into Captain Harvey's in Dundalk, orders their signature Cheesesteak Sub and the order taker asks: "Want grilled onions, with that, hon?" Will Captain Harvey's face the wrath of Atilla the Hon via a nasty lawsuit? I'm reminded of the Filipino lady, Sony Florendo, who operated Sony downtown. Sony was the name given by her parents. Regardless, the Sony Corporation sued Ms. Florendo over trademark issues, won and the woman lost her livelihood!

Rodricks is right. I like Cafe Hon and the ventures Ms. Whiting has established. If she walks into Captain Harvey's in Dundalk, orders their signature Cheesesteak Sub and the order taker asks: "Want grilled onions, with that, hon?" Will Captain Harvey's face the wrath of Atilla the Hon via a nasty lawsuit? I'm reminded of the Filipino lady, Sony Florendo, who operated Sony downtown. Sony was the name given by her parents. Regardless, the Sony Corporation sued Ms. Florendo over trademark issues, won and the woman lost her livelihood!

RayRay, Ernest Vincent Wright knew this day was coming...

Laura Lee, thanks for pointing that out...

she is a human being, just like the boy who was "outed" and committed suicide

And really, hasn't Ms. Whiting faced enough persecution already? Surely we all remember when Fred "No Relation to Michael" Phelps and his Westboro goons protested outside the cafe with their loathsome "God Hates Hons" signs. And when will hons finally be able to openly serve in the military? Or marry? Really, the similarities here are quite striking. Thanks to Wendy Sites for giving us some much-needed perspective.

Everything about Cafe Hon -- including the mediocre, over-mayHONnaised food -- turns my stomach. Whiting has, for years, profited on the image of a working class Baltimore that has never seen its reflection in any of her silverware. When John Waters paid homage to old-school Baltimore in the utterly lovable Hairspray, he did so with affection and with admiration for a culture that he didn't know intimately but that he'd always found fascinating and worth, on some level, preserving. Whiting's take on Baltimore is hackneyed and lacks love. It's superficial, insipid and insulting to a culture that she alleges to be praising. Bee-hived skeletons in cemeteries all over Baltimore have been, thanks to Whiting, turning in their graves since late 1992.

And as for Whiting's "saving" Hampden, HONestly, give me a break. Hampden, even before Cafe Hon opened, was on the verge of a renaissance, and while it's true that her business has outlasted many others, I hardly think that hipsters and capitalists would never have found 36th Street had Whiting not set up shop there. Hampden, unlike many other Baltimore neighborhoods in the early 1990s (and now), was safe, stable, and prime for the plucking, which is why so many businesses, including Whiting's, have met with great success there. The fact is that Whiting is much better at reinventing history than she was at reinventing Hampden.

Laura Lee-

Following the Swift logic, does that make us related?

Also, re my post:
There's a sucker born every minute.
-P.T. Barnum

Better to remain silent and be though a fool...than post inane things on blogs instead of doing work...

Hi Stagger,
You've been Swift-boated!

Stagger, I already told you we're closet cousins.

Anyway, no one could be faulted for not readily distinguishing hyperbole from some of the actual statements made by Ms. Whiting and her confederates. The bar for satire has been set exceedingly high.

Emily! You are awesome. By any chance, are you the same Emily who wrote that delightful "Ode to Scrapple" ?

No, LL, that was my cousin Emily Feeney

The article was wrong she in fact did not charge the non profit she had the catering company who planned the event make a check for her non profit project12. They aske what they could do in return because she let and gave them tons of 'hon' things to borrow and keep.

Mary -

She took from Baltimore, what makes you think she won't take from a non-profit??!!

But seriously, she still accepted money from a non profit for those goods (i.e. free advertisement for her restaurant). The fact that the money went to her charity is irrelevant - it was from a non profit!!

New from the Apocrypha: Denise Whiting opens ghetto-themed Crack Cafe in West Baltimore. (NSFW animation).

Denise Whiting opens ghetto-themed Crack Cafe in West Baltimore.

OH. MY. GOD! You really earned your mobbies with this one. I almost choked from laughing.

Great Caesar's Ghost! You totally crushed it, Owl Man. I sense a new direction for you. MORE PLEASE.

TY. WOO HOO! Version 2.0 of Denise Whiting's Crack Cafe™ video is up on the blog. This version has a tweeked script and much much better animation and sounds. Check it out. (NSFW)

Oops, here's the link:

Wondering what kind of freak show will materialize tomorrow at Cafe Hon protest. BTW there is a protest organized in Hampden from 12-1. Here is the Facebook event notification:
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=136573739734188&index=1

How have your kitchen be designed, modern or old school?

@ Odell,

Yoda, is that you?

Check out this menu from Nacho Mama's using the word HON twenty times and taunting Denise Whiting to sue them. WIN!

Check out this menu from Nacho Mama's using the word HON twenty times and taunting Denise Whiting to sue them. WIN!

Haha! The owner of Nacho Mamas has huevos! Love it.

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About this blog

You are reading the archives. For updated blog posts about the Maryland food scene, see Richard Gorelick's new Baltimore Diner blog.
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.
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